Monday, May 26, 2014

Got the Point?

 I haven't been writing here much in the past few weeks because I feel really awful, going through withdrawal from an anti-depressant that I took for years.  April and May are pretty much shot for me, with fatique, brain fog, disequilibrium and nausea.  Add to that edema.  Really, it has been hell.  I'm surprised that my spirits have stayed as good as they have, but I do know there is life at the end of this ordeal.  Sad part is, I figured out I need to come off another one.  The two together have had terrible impacts on my health, and I'm looking forward to a clean slate.
In the meantime I have been seeing an acupuncturist, which has been a wonderful experience.  Those needles do miraculous things, and I don't know where I'd be without the help of my practitioner.

As you can see from the pictures above, I have not been idle.  I am really tough on my toys, and blew out my Singer sewing machine, again.  See, in the past, I could not afford a nice fancy sewing machine, so I would buy a Singer or Brother from Joann at half price sales.  Then, sew the daylights out of it.  They usually lasted 3 years for me.
Terry had this Singer from 1958 in his man cave.  It needed a new cord is all.  I oiled it and threaded it up, and OMG.  I've forgotten what it was like to sew on a quality machine!!!!  Now I am going like crazy.  I'm working on the quilt, shown above, for my niece Erin, who gets married on July 26th.  Last summer while we were all on vacation, I took Erin to the Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Or., and had her pick out a pattern and fabric.  Well, once I got home and took a good look at the pattern (I had to buy the book!), I realized there was no way I had the patience to make it.  So, I decided to do a simple disappearing nine patch.  It's easy, and looks like you have spent intense time and effort on it.  I know she will love it.   I've also started on a pillow top and a wall hanging for US.  I'm really excited and can spend hours working up new projects.
That and the yard have kept me busy and prevented me from obsessing about how awful I feel.  But, I feel great today, and I see a new horizon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My, What a busy week!!!

 Let's start with the Burien Market.  It was 25 degrees cooler this week than the week before, which made people more inclined to buy warm hats, but it also kept many people home.  I'm the eternal optimist and took off to the market without a coat.  
By 1pm I had to call Terry to have him bring me one with the walls of my tent.  EVERYTHING got wet, and once we got home at the end of the day, I had to set up my displays in the living room to dry out overnight.  I had another show on Saturday.
Despite the rain, folks were in great spirits.
 Two Scoops, a blues duet, showed up and entertained us for hours.  I just love their tip jar, shown above.
And look at those smiles.  You can tell they love what they are doing.
 And here is Tami Sioux.  What a kick in the butt.  I first met this woman while shopping at the market last year.  My kids had given me one of her pieces for Christmas the year before.  I bought another.  And, I'm sure I will continue to do so.  Another, and another, and another.
 We visited each others' booths constantly, and along with Alice who sells plants, we decided we had a good  basis for friendship and networking..
 Below is Jill Griffin, who does incredible jewelry at reasonable prices.  She is a really nice person, of course, and I spent a bit of time with her.  You see, my problem at these affaires is that I tend to spend as much as I make, but gee, I wouldn't have come to look otherwise, and wouldn't have the money to spend, right?
 As usual, the flowers were aplenty.  I made a trade with one of the farmers, and will be getting fresh flowers every week for quite some time.

Friday was supposed to be rest and relaxation.  I am detoxing from a powerful med that I have taken for years and it is having a huge impact on me.  I am exhausted beyond anything I have ever experienced.  It is painful and emotional.  But, due to the wet market, and having to readjust my plans, I had a pretty busy day.  The bonus was that a friend of mine whom I met at the Bellingham market gave me a call that night.  I had been trying to reach her ever since I washed my phone and lost all my info.  So there she was, and I was in desperate need of a massage!  Oh, that's how we met.  When I vended inside at the market, I was always next to a group of masseuses who became my friends and practitioners.  Susan is also living in Seattle now.  Isn't that great?!

So on to the Tukwila Backyard Wildlife Festival.  What a wonderful, funfilled day.  They do such a fantastic job putting on this event, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, despite having only gotten 4 hours of sleep.

Right next to me was the
Tukwila Rotary, who, as you can see, were having a marvelous time selling native plants.
They are also the ones with the sense of humor to put leg warmers on the flamingos.

I really want that flying pig in the upper left corner, but I had to settle for the flying wrench, even though sales were good.
This is Gary Golightly, The Bubbleman.  He had both children and adults howling with laughter.

This little pollinator kept me in stitches all day.  Her main stage was right across from me, and she knows how to flaunt it.  Terry says she has been at this festival for years.  She also does a dragon fly on stilts and a butterfly.  I liked the bumble bee the best.

So another good day of sales which makes for a deposit into the vacation fund.  Pretty good, making money while having fun.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bloody Mary is the One I Love!

I love a good Bloody Mary.  I like to think I am being healthy drinking them, with all those vegetables.  MMMMmmm.
This particular drink was served to me at the Pine Tavern in Bend, Oregon three years ago.  It's like a salad in a glass, but, unfortunately, the drink itself was not that terrific.

When Terry picked me up at the airport after my recent trip to Colorado and Wyoming, he took me to dinner at a sweet Italian restaurant, Verrazano's.  Besides having incredible Italian food, I had the best Bloody Mary I had ever had before.  So, I decided to try creating my own mix.  After several attempts, I have developed what suits my taste buds.  I am going to share it with you, but be aware that I like things hot and spicy.

Linda's Warm and Spicy
Bloody Mary Mix

Start with 46 ounces of either tomatoe juice, vegetable juice or, as I prefer, Spicy V8.
The juice of 1 & 1/2 lemons
3 T brown sugar
3 T A-1 Steak Sauce
1T Tabasco
1 T Worchestershire Sauce
1 +/- T fresh grated horseradish
1 T celery salt.

Keep this in the refrigerator at least 24 hours before using.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Burien Farmer's Market

 It was a beautiful, sunny day for the opening of the Burien Farmer's Market.  Burien is about a 10 minute drive from my house, and they also take crafts.  Not all markets accept crafts, so this is my first attempt at more local markets.  There are more and more opening up each year.  I just read that one is opening on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond!!
 Here is my booth.  I did not take hats, and very few headbands, since it was 85 degrees, and no one wants to try on, much less buy, a warm hat in that kind of weather.
Two men were admiring my yarns when one of them says "Ya know Kaffe Fassett?  He'd really like this stuff.  Wow, I could not have received a nicer compliment.
Bottom line, though, I did not make a single sale.  That is not surprising for a first time at a market.  People have to get to know you.  The networking I did was phenomenal, and I had a great time.
 This is Max, my booth neighbor.  He sells OMG! dipping oils and balsamic vinegars.  I have several of the products, which I bought at the Pike Place Market.  It was so fun to listen to his sales pitches all day and get all the ideas of how to use the different oils.  Last night, I brushed my oven fries with Cabernet Garlic Oil.  Oh, My.
 On my other side was a new garbage and recycling company that will soon be doing the waste removal in Burien.  His is a drum made of repurposed propane tanks.  The sound it emits is so beautiful!
And here is the cookbook I display in my kitchen.  It's not my favorite, but I do like identifying with these wild and crazy women.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Beat Goes On

It's been a melancholy day as I rushed around signing the final papers on the sale of the back 30 acres of Lost River Farms.  It has been on a lease option for the past 4 years, but will convert to a deed and note tomorrow.  So, I bid a final good bye to the place I loved with all my heart.  I put my blood, sweat and tears into that place for 13 years, taking a decrepit, run down dairy farm and turning it into a showplace.  My husband, Alan's, ashes are strewn here.  Before I left I took a walk with him, talking about things.  Memories.  Accomplishments.
I don't know if I will ever be able to go back.  The pain is too great.  But I could not go forward with my life there for many many reasons.
Now, when I go back and look at pictures, I am not sad, but proud.
But still.

So I continue with my withdrawal.  Yuck.  Yesterday I was exhausted beyond my own recognition.  And I cried at everything.  I must be better today, since I accomplished a lot and dealt with plenty of frustrations, including dealing with the Apple Store.  They were less than helpful.
I had to buy some new, baggy clothes since the edema has me so swollen, I feel like a balloon.  I wish I could prick myself with a pin and it would all drain away.
So, it's time for bed, and hoping to be so much better in the morning.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A long story that you may not want to read.

Since my blog is also my personal journal, I have decided to write about my journey back to health.  I'm not quite there yet, but am working very hard at it.
24 years ago, I started having panic attacks and was put on anti-depressants to control them.  It took 17 years to find one that allowed me to sleep through the night, without an attack.  That drug was Cymbalta.  I thought it was working great, but recently I have found that it may be the root of many of the health issues I have developed since.
The major issue is dizziness and dis equilibrium.  The doctors, of course, diagnosed this as positional vertigo, which I have recently discovered it is not.  Other side effects have been a constant increase in weight, even though I had lap band surgery and lost 50 pounds in 2007.  I have gained it all back.  Recently, while dieting and basically eating healthy, I gained 10 pounds in 4 weeks.  What is this all about?  Well, I had increased the dosage of my anti depressant.  My major problem these days is not being able to drive any faster than 55mph without the periphery of my view swirling and floating and tilting, causing me to panic.  I associated this with the change in my vision.  So, I went to see a vision therapist.  There I found out I was in pretty bad shape.  My depth perception was at 20% of normal and I was not able to converge and diverge.  I did not know where my body was within my own environment.  Well, I achieved in 6 months of hard work what they anticipated would take me a year.  In February, my doctor referred me to Pacific Balance Center for vestibular therapy.  Most people who go there have suffered an accident or a stroke.  After speaking for awhile with my therapist, I discovered that I was basically a victim of PTSD.  Post traumatic stress disorder.  I got a concussion in October of 2010.  This may have been the second or even third concussion I suffered, but it is the one that knocked me out.  Then I suffered the shock of finding my husband of 38 years dead in his recliner one morning in December of 2010.  That was followed by many stresses and discoveries, and my brain quit compensating for the double vision I had from 4th nerve palsy.  I had dealt with this condition for years and knew what I could do, but suddenly I could not drive at higher speeds without extreme panic.  A neurologist diagnosed this and sent me back to my optometrist, who referred me to a surgeon to have the palsy corrected through surgery.  For the first time in years, I did not have double vision, but I continued to have difficulty driving.  I am an independent person and this has been driving me crazy!!!
In addition, my health seemed to be suffering.  I was given antibiotics on 6 occasions over the past year, and that wreaked havoc on my system.
Finally, one night while pacing the floor with a horrible case of restless legs, I went on line to research the affect of Cymbalta on Restless leg syndrome.  Well, not only does it aggravate it for folks who already have it, but it causes it.  It also causes vision problems, weight gain, arthritis, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, etc, etc, etc.  This information was not available to us 7 years ago when I first started taking it.
I was appalled.  So I then started a gradual weaning off the drug with the help of some supplements I obtained through a site I found "The Road Back".  Withdrawal from this drug is a bitch.  Fortunately I avoided much of the brain problems, but I have had severe joint pain and extreme edema.  I have now been off the drug for 16 days, but my therapist says it could be in my body for another 4-6 weeks.  He said getting off this drug is the single most important thing I could do for myself.
Vestibular issues are very difficult to diagnose.  Doctors tend to find a bandage to fix the next problem you have.  I spent so much time and money with doctors, and got so tired of hearing them say "We don't know what is wrong with you Mrs. Bylsma".  But here, take this pill, and here take these antibiotics.
I just suffered from a miserable sinus infection but refused to see a doctor.  I let it run it's course.  I am not going to take anti biotics again unless I can't do anything else.
I am so thankful that I found this amazing man who has stood by me and supported me through the past three years.  He endured my breaking up with him three times!!  At one point when we were first dating, I had to tell him I might have to have brain surgery, because that is what the docs were telling me at the time.
This is a little off topic, but when a woman loses the man who has been her constant companion and friend for over 40 years, she not only experiences extreme grief, but also needs to figure out who she is now.  I had a very difficult journey with that, and Terry understood better than I did that Linda needed to find out who Linda was now.  It was a rough road, but I have finally found answers and am looking forward to the next chapters.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Back at it.

I think it is about time I got back to blogging. 
With all the problems I've had with my eyesight, it just wasn't comfortable, but things are improving tremendously, and I think it is time.
 I have been dying fiber again and having a grand time.  I attended a fiber show recently where I bought a fiber blending board, and I'm having a lot of fun blending colors.  I will be coming up with some new yarn designs as a result.
Which is a good segue into the Burien Farmer's Market.  This is a sweet little market, about a 10 minute drive from my place.  I will be vending there and am so happy to be part of a Market again.  Terry will help me to set up and break down.  That was always the part that exhausted me.  He has been working so hard to help me get ready.  He's made new weights for the tend, washed and waterproofed the tent top, and helped me to make a new sign.  
The market is on Thursdays, from 11am to 6pm.  Opening day is May 1st and it is forecast to be 79 degrees.  That should bring the people out.

 Last week we made a quick trip to Lopez Island and took our friend April with us.  Is this the sweetest little church?  I wanted to take pictures of all the churches, but I forgot my camera or it was raining too hard.  That didn't keep us from digging clams and doing some island exploration.
 The Tulip Festival is in full swing in Mt 
Vernon, and here are some fields we passed on our way to the ferry in Anacortes.  These are fields where they are harvesting the flowers.
Last but not least, here are some of the clams we got.  We  wash the shells really good, then steam them, saving the nectar.  I then squeeze the contents of the stomach out of the bug ones, cut them up, and then we freeze them in a quart container.  Enough clams and nectar to make enough clam chowder for at least 4 people.  Next trip to Lopez, we will be going after Dungeness Crabs.